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Background Protein analysis using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionisation time-of-flight mass-spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) represents a promising tool for entomological surveillance. In this study we tested the discriminative power of this tool for measuring species and blood meal source of main Afrotropical malaria vectors on the Kenyan coast. Methods Mosquito collections were conducted along the coastal region of Kenya. MALDI-TOF MS spectra were obtained from each individual mosquito’s cephalothorax as well as the abdomens of blood-engorged mosquitoes. The same mosquitoes were also processed using gold standard tests: polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for species identification and enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for blood meal source identification. Results Of the 2,332 mosquitoes subjected to MALDI-TOF MS, 85% (1,971/2,332) were considered for database creation and validation. There was an overall accuracy of 97.5% in the identification of members of the An. gambiae (An. gambiae, 100%; An. arabiensis, 91.9%; An. merus, 97.5%; and An. quadriannulatus, 90.2%) and An. funestus (An. funestus, 94.2%; An. rivulorum, 99.4%; and An. leesoni, 94.1%) complexes. Furthermore, MALDI-TOF MS also provided accurate (94.5% accuracy) identification of blood host sources across all mosquito species. Conclusions This study provides further evidence of the discriminative power of MALDI-TOF MS to identify sibling species and blood meal source of Afrotropical malaria vectors, further supporting its utility in entomological surveillance. The low cost per sample (<0.2USD) and high throughput nature of the method represents a cost-effective alternative to molecular methods and could enable programs to increase the number of samples analysed and therefore improve the data generated from surveillance activities.

Original publication




Journal article


Wellcome Open Research


F1000 Research Ltd

Publication Date





151 - 151